In January, six of us gathered together over zoom to discuss the book Checking In by Michelle Williams. In the book, Michelle Williams, Grammy Award winner and most famous for her membership in Destiny’s Child, describes her decade long battle with depression and anxiety. The book description begins with “I need help.” She very vulnerably describes her lowest point, when she found herself planning her own funeral, and her process seeking professional help. Throughout this journey, she often describes the importance of “checking in” with herself, God, and others.
During our group’s discussion, we talked about how Ms. Williams very openly discusses her journey recognizing depression, struggling with low points, recovery, and now working to maintain her own health. A few helpful quotes from the book we discussed include:
Ms. William’s process of checking in was insightful and built on her experiences over the last decade. When she was depressed and her fiancé would offer to help her with tasks at home, she interpreted it as an insult. Reflecting, she said “depression [was] changing everything to lies.” (p. 123). However, “When we’re checking in with ourselves, we can root out the beliefs behind our thoughts and the thoughts behind our emotions.” (p. 34)
On page 77, she describes her check in process: “Just choose one situation with one person” and ask:
Ms. Williams also makes an interesting distinction between transparency and vulnerability. With transparency, “there’s still a little bit of control…I don’t risk anything when I respond that way.” However, with vulnerability, we are “offering the truth freely…you don’t have that kind of control, sometimes it’s not pretty.” (p. 172-173). However, her overall point is that vulnerability allows more for freedom to exist and acknowledge our own struggles. It means being truly open about what is going on in our lives and minds which can ultimately promote better understanding of ourselves, and hopefully, greater healing.
Finally, a large part of Ms. Williams life and overall healing process was rooted in her Christian faith. She focuses a lot on the downfalls of holding grudges and not forgiving ourselves or others. She states:
Please join us for our next Ramsey County Book Club! Find more information at: https://www.namiramseycounty.org/bookclub.html
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